Travel Channel President Pat Younge brings literacy to his staff
Television is a strange industry.
The New York Times is filled with people who aspire to be print journalists; to be writers.
As a result, when you walk into the New York Times, every single person in the building, from the receptionist to the publisher knows how to read and write. They also have a word processing machine on their desktop. If they get an idea, they are encouraged to write. Adam Liptak, corporate lawyer for the paper often also reports on legal matters for the paper. It is a hive of literacy and creativity.
If you walk into a TV network, however, it is more akin to walking into an insurance company.
Row after row of cubicles and flourescent lighting. Industrial carpeting.
And most remarkably, a staff that by and large are both illiterate in the medium in which they are working, and also denied access to the tools of creativity.
Walk around your network offices. How many people do you see? Now, how many cameras are around. These, by the way, are the tools that we make video with. How many edit systems on people’s desk top computers.
And now, the most critical question: how many people on staff are video literate? That is, how many people on staff are capable of shooting, editing and producing a video told story?
It’s a strange business that attracts people who want to work in this industry, and then keeps them both functionally illiterate and denies them access to the tools of creativity.
At The Travel Channel, President and CEO Pat Younge is making a difference.
He is committed to making every employee of the network, from secretaries to IT people to marketing to producers (shocking but true) completely literate in the making of video; in video story-telling.
That, after all, is their business.
This might seem common sense, but in the TV business, to my knowledge, he is the only person who has committed to empowering and educating his staff in this way.